It’s A MINI World!!

They are cute, capable and cool. They personify a different lifestyle just as much as the actual automobile itself! And now buyers in India can get a taste of that.

BMW has launched its premium small car brand Mini here and its going to be a legendary British sandwich with classy German stuffing!

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Since its launch in 1959, the original Mini was a compact car with an iconic status, with everyone from all walks of life wanting to own one. The Mini is known to be the second most influential car in the 20th century only to be beaten by the Ford T-models. It offers something else from just being a car – a personality, the quirkiness that suited both common man  and elite. And for a decade, BMW has managed to take this car and give it the retro looks and turn it around into a premium brand, a premium hatchback to be exact.
Styling remains to be the most distinguishing factor among other small cars and premium brands – the most convincing aspect as well. Once you get to know that the Mini grabs your attention, you are already transfixed by its adorable looks. Just can’t help falling in love with a car that looks like this – the large headlights, the sculptured hood  for the aggressive air intake, large wheels, and the iconic vintage touches that acts as independent brand ambassadors to the brand. Any model invariably, Mini is designed and power to be dynamic cars.

The Indian chapter of the Mini starts with the quintessential hatch, the car that represents the brand for what it is and what it was. The car is available is many trims and fun colours, which starts at Rs. 25.50 lakhs. The ‘S’ version of the Cooper is priced at Rs. 28.60 lakhs and comes with the ‘S’ badging, which tells you that the car is supercharged. A convertible version is also in the list, which is around five lakhs costlier than the hatch version. The 1598cc Petrol power train is impressive in performance figures and the car touches the top speed of a whooping 220 kmph! This car reminds the John Cooper Works version of the Mini, which is missing though. The car offers loads of fun but on good roads, limited ground clearance a bit allergic to average Indian roads.
And for people who wants to overcome this, the Mini Countryman is the next best answer. It is essentially a crossover, which offer more space, comfort, ride height and drivability. Priced from Rs. 32.80 lakhs to Rs. 36 lakhs, the Countryman is of the Skoda Yeti size, and is the 5-door 5-seater model, which makes more sense to Indians. The techspecs and equipments are the same to the hatch, but the suspension feels less stiff. The Countryman is weird in a nice way and is quite different to any of the crossover in India. The big downside is that the Countryman is not a four-wheel drive. For a car that tries to be an SUV at this price, I would have expected it.

BMW has decided to launch Mini as a petrol-only brand in India and so, there is no diesel option. But the diesels are promised once they figure out the Indian fuel quality issues. The Mini also seems ‘maxi’ in terms of pricing, because it is completely knocked-down. It is ill-equipped either.  A manual gearbox would have been fun lot more, but only the six-speed auto is offered. So for an ideal Indian, Mini makes less sense and would rather prefer a delicious 3-series or Audi Q3. BMW can localise its production and position it below the X1 like the European market. Nevertheless, Mini is appealing, sexy and its here! 

Dhiyanesh Ravichandran

Dhiyanesh is equally crazy about driving cars and writing about them. This guy loves everything with a steering wheel, so, at someday if self-driving cars take up all driving, he is sure to go nuts! He likes sedans of 90s era, esp W140 S-Class and R34 Skyline GT. Apart from usual motoring stuffs, he maintains a strong appetite for sociological perspectives on cars, their historical and cultural footprints. He owns a 1999 Fiat Siena passionately, and drives a Ford Fiesta.